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Verified Member MouthShut Verified Member  
someplace India
Go Goa!
Jan 14, 2011 06:12 AM 51529 Views
(Updated Jan 14, 2011 09:54 AM)

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Well, after writing 3 successful diaries over Goa, let me present you with a review on it, hoping that it will cover everything you need to know.


Goa is a beautiful place, which has the freedom to roam as you like, wear what you want, drink what you can, and enjoy as your wish. It is situated alongwith the Arabian Sea, and quite easily accessible from all major parts of India. In 1987, it becomes one of the state of India, the smallest one ofcourse, subdivided into two major districts - North "Nature" Goa and South "Old" Goa. You can divide these two districts as per the synonyms I used - North Goa full of nature's scenery and some of the beautiful beaches, and South Goa is full of Portuguese architectural designs, old churches, buildings and etcs. Goa's capital is Panjim, which is located on the division of both districts, alongside the river Mandovi, which also serves as North Goa's headquarters. Margao serves the South Goa's headquarters.


How to Reach - Hmm. So here are the options. From Mumbai side - best option is book a ticket of any Konkan Railway train bound for Madgaon or Ernakulam. All trains starting from Mumbai lies on the central railway line, either starting from Mumbai CST, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus or coming from north regions, which you can catch at Panvel. Get down at Pernem or Thivim, but you have to look for the accessibility, it lies in North Goa, and accessibility is not so frequent. Get a private cab, taxi or something like that, or you can get down at Madgaon/Vasco De Gama (last stop of Goa), which lies in South Goa, accessibility is good. Or you can opt for "Dil Chahta Hai" way, come with your own vehicle, or follow any private or government bus and come the "Bombay to Goa" way. From pune, either board a private bus for Goa, or board a train to Goa, other ways includes taking Government/private buses to Kolhapur or Belgaum, and then take the other bus from there. It take same time (4-5 hrs) from both places, but all buses go to Belgaum via Kolhapur only. From Hyderabad or Bangalore, train connectivity is not so good, so can take any private bus (if you can tolerate them!) to Belgaum/Kolhapur/Goa and then change. Dabolim Airport of Goa is situated in South Goa, can opt for that as well, not much idea about air travel, so check out travel websites for that. Best travel agency of Goa is Paulo Travels, but book in advance, you'll not get tickets even one week before.


Where to Stay - If you are targeting only nature, get down at Mhapusa, the central location of North Goa district, and you can get many cheap hotels (Rs300-400 starting price in off-season) around bus stand. From train get down at Thivim. If you are targeting Old Goa full of churches and historical Portuguese buildings, get down at Madgaon railway station or bus stand, but if you're targeting Goa, get down at Panjim, and find a hotel near bus stand itself. Its a center point for both type of visits, and have all the city bus connectivities.


How to Visit - There are many city buses to all major tourist spots of Goa from Panjim central bus stand, but ask me, the best way to visit Goa is loose some bucks, get a rented bike/scooter (Rs.300-400 per day in off season), grab a map of Goa and go hunting! But try to get back in time. You can get that bike/scooter everywhere. One more way is taking "Pilots". It means taking a paid lift on back of a bike, but that guy will take you wherever you want to go.


What to Visit - Now, came the major question, as what to visit. For the beginners - Take a tour (mainly a 2-day tour) from any tour operator near your hotel, they have tour buses - one day for North Goa, and one day for South Goa. You can take the buses as well, as mentioned above. For Experts or those who want to enjoy - Take a bike, map and go. I preferred nature, so let's start with North Goa first. Cross the famous bridge over Mandovi River (I am supposing you're staying near Central Bus Stand Panjim), or cross the river using ferry over the river. Go and start your hunt visiting from Reis Magos church (situated in Verem taluka). Go to Fort Aguda, a nice place, and you can walk by the lighthouse and go back of the fort to have a full view of the Arabian sea, sit on the top of the rock, have a picnic, then you go to Sinquerim Beach, and all beaches following in order, Candolim, Calmangute, Baga. In peak season, you can enjoy water sports in and around Sinquerim beach, where all the major big hotels are situated. Calangute is the most busiest and famous beach of North Goa, you get as many shops as you want, all your tourism shopping need will get fulfilled here. If you want some loneliness, go till Anjuna, Vagator beach, through beautiful interior landscapes of Goa (Remember, Goan roads are serpent-like, you can get lost easily, asking is good). Can take much cheaper beers from interior shops (Nobody looks at you even if you're drinking anything sitting near a family even). In the way, near vagator beach, you can climb a hill, and see the famous "Dil Chahta Hai" fort (Fort Chhapora) and ask me, you can get a wonderful view of the whole scenic and greeny Goa (Visit my diaries on Goa). More loneliness! Hmm. Go till the end - Manderin, Arambol and Tiracol beach (I haven't been there!, spookey!)


For South Goa, again start from Panjim, first visit Dona Paula, a lovely and romantic outpost overlooking the sea. Then you can visit old churches (For directions get a map) like the famous world heritage site Basilica of Bom Jesus church, visit many temples like Shantadurga Temple, Mangeshi Temple (Situated in Lata Mangeshkar's ancestors village "Mangeshi"), and Mahalasa temple, and can go till the famous beach of South Goa i.e. the Colva Beach. There are many beaches beyond this, even a waterfall and a sanctuary as well, but I haven't been there yet, so not much information on other districts like Margao, Sanguem, Quepem or Canacona. Once I visited Vasco, go on a ride on your bike and see the great ship harbours near the Vasco De Gama Railway station. Just ride it along, and try to find new ways there, in between the way you'll see the Dabolim Airport as well. For the evening and nightmazaa, either take a cruise ride (that time ut was Rs.100 per head for one round over a general cruise boat) on the river Mandovi (near Panjim), had a see of sea, dance on konkan and bollywood numbers or take photographs. You have casinos as well on the boats, try them!. OR Go to beaches, and you'll always find a party going on in the night, in the peak times, live it.


Time to Visit - Well, for me, I will say, anytime, even during rains, but rains falls heavily here, you will not see anything beyond few metres, and is very very accidental, but the best time to enjoy nature is monsoons, but otherwise enjoy and visit goa anytime other than Monsoon months (peak time is Nov-Feb).


So, Go Goa yaar! What're you waiting for :)


For my Diaries visit -


http://www.mouthshut.com/diary/cfbgumrqq/Part-5Belgaum-and-Goa-Part-1


http://www.mouthshut.com/diary/hhagoosqq/Part-6Goa-Part-2


http://www.mouthshut.com/diary/jgcbotsqq/Part-7North-Goa-Part-3


GRuchirG.


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